Tuesday, March 31, 2009


...okay not yet, but just in case of emergency, you should be prepared! Do you have an emergency pack/kit? If you do chances are there is plastic in it. Plastic is sadly inevitable in the emergency preparedness arena. I made an emergency pack about two years ago after attending a workshop on working with disaster victims. I was sufficiently scared about impending doom and insuring mayhem that I went home and put something together (over about a period of a month-I guess I wasn't that scared).

I was reminded recently that the emergency food in my emergency backpack has expiration dates. So, I fished the pack out of the trunk of my car and found that all the power bars I had put in there two years ago are in fact one year past due. (Of course I’ll still eat them now, but they are no longer 'emergency ready' because they might make me sick and I don't want to be sick in an emergency.) I have bought 5 more power bars (in plastic wrappers of course!) as replacements. I figure the two year old beef jerky and fruit leather can probably make it another year. They are sealed in plastic after all they should last forever!

In my rekindled emergency preparedness flurry I have decided to add a few more things that I can't believe weren't in my pack before! I can say happily most of these new additions are decidedly not plastic. In case you want to make your own in-case-of-nuclear-meltdown-and-major-earthquake-bag I suggest these basics: some light non-perishable food (power bars, beef jerky, fruit leather, etc. enough for 2-3 days), a couple of bottles of water (I know, but in a pinch you will be glad you invested in that plastic encased water), a change of clothes and good pair of walking shoes (you may have to walk a long way if mayhem breaks out-so sneakers will be nice to have), sunscreen (plastic again), basic toiletries + toilet paper, and a pocket knife. Okay, so here are my new additions: rubber band for hair, deodorant stone, two sets of bamboo utensils (so I can share one set with someone who forgets utensils-someone is gonna forget utensils), two face masks (like for painting, which will also be helpful in trying to breath in smoke or around toxic particles), matches, paper and a pen...okay here is where I went a little MacGyver for no apparent reason...9 rubber bands, 5 paperclips, and a bunch of popsicle sticks (all non-plastic!). Who knows these 'essentials' might come in handy. I'll probably be kicking myself about not making it 10 rubber bands.

Now you all should go get something together, just in case. Try to use as little plastic as possible-it's a challenge!


Carrick said...

I was just thinking about this the other day, and thought about getting some of those stainless steel food containers to put dried fruits and nuts (bought from bulk bins) in. As for the water, I guess they don't have metal water bins or it wouldn't be good to store water in a metal bin for that long. Then again, it's not good to store water in plastic for that long....

plasticfreela said...

Very good ideas about the stainless steal food containers for dried fruit and nuts and a good point on storing water in plastic for a long time too!

Jenhu said...

I used to do work in emergency preparedness and two things you didn't list, but you may already have:

- crank operated flashlight, for seeing the dark and/or signaling to rescue workers, etc.
- crank operated radio, so you know what to do, what's going on and where to go!

Emergency rations are vacuum sealed and can last for 5 years minimum. One package of that should last you 3 days. I opt for these because I don't want to have to throw away packaging for power bars and/or rotten food every 2 years or so.

A billed cap to protect your face and a mylar blanket are also useful. The mylar is plastic, but it's very light and compact and it will help keep you warm and relatively dry, particularly if you didn't include a rain poncho.

Some cash can also come in handy since ATMs don't work during a power outage.

Hope this is helpful!